Kallis replaces Smith in ICC top 10

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Dubai, Dec. 21 (ANI): Jacques Kallis has become South Africa's highest-ranked batsman after replacing Graeme Smith in the top 10 of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

The 34-year-old, who scored 120 and four in the Centurion Test against England, has climbed three places to eighth in the latest rankings which were released on Monday morning. It is the first time since August 2008 that Kallis has featured in the top 10 of the rankings which he first topped in January 2005.

In contrast, Smith, who scored a duck and 12 at Centurion, has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in 16 months after sliding four places to 11th position.

Smith is not the only batsman inside the top 20 to take a dive in the latest rankings. Australia's Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, Andrew Strauss of England and South Africa's Ashwell Prince have suffered similar fates after disappointing performances with the bat at Centurion and in Perth.

Clarke, who scored 11 and 25 against the West Indies in the third and last Test, has dropped two places to sixth, Ponting has slipped two places to 14th (his lowest ranking since October 2002) after he scored 23 retired hurt and two, Strauss has dropped three places to 17th after scores of 46 and one, and Prince has slipped five places to 18th after scoring 45 and duck.

Batsmen outside the top 20 and slipping further down include Ramnaresh Sarwan 27th (down by three places), Alastair Cook 31st (down by three places), Matt Prior 37th (down by two places), Ian Bell 41st (down by five places) and Dwayne Bravo 44th (down by two places).

Apart from Kallis, the other batsmen to move in the right direction are AB de Villiers 12th (up by two places), Kevin Pietersen 13th (up by four places), Hashim Amla 25th (up by two places), Paul Collingwood 29th (up by two places), Brendan Nash 43rd (up by eight places), Mark Boucher 45th (up by five places) and Jonathan Trott 49th (up by five places).

Gautam Gambhir of India leads the batting table with Sri Lanka pair of Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara in second and third places, respectively.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, South Africa's left-arm spinner Paul Harris and England's spin and pace combination of Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad have achieved career-best rankings to date.

Harris, who recorded match figures of 7-174, has jumped two places to seventh position, Swann has moved up one place to 11th after match figures of 5-201 while Broad has joined Pakistan's Danish Kaneria in 13th place after match figures of 3-132.

Also on the charge are Bravo 27th (up by three places), Morne Morkel 30th (up by one place), Doug Bollinger 39th (up by 31 places), Nathan Haurtiz 41st (up by five places) and Sulieman Benn 47th (up by three places).

James Anderson of England and Kallis are the only two bowlers inside the top 20 to lose ground. Both have dropped one place each to slip to 12th and 20th, respectively.

The list is still headed by South Africa's Dale Steyn with Australia's Mitchell Johnson second and Muttiah Muralidaran of Sri Lanka third.

The only change in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders is the return of Bravo to the top five. The list is still headed by Kallis while the players between the South African and the West Indian are Daniel Vettori, Johnson and Shakib Al Hasan. (ANI)

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